Saturday, April 24, 2010

What's Been Happening at Our Tiny Farm

Air Force One arriving at the Asheville Airport on April 23, 2010

It has been a busy couple of weeks around here and I have not had time to keep up on this blog.  I started three new grant projects at work; on hops, forest products, and organic research.  That's been very exciting, but two of the projects are supposed to have full time employees doing the work, but I haven't been able to hire them yet.  So, I've been doing three full time jobs.  Fun, but exhausting.

The big local news is that President and Michelle Obama  are spending the weekend in our area. They flew into the Asheville airport Friday afternoon and my son and hubby were nearby to get some pictures and video footage of the historic event.  They picked a very beautiful time of year to visit our mountains.

We have been working hard here on Our Tiny Farm and the place is looking great!  All the early vegetable crops are planted and growing.  The pea trellis, garden fence, and gate are newly constructed and looking very fine.  Ground was leveled to create a proper pad for the greenhouse we hope to construct this summer.  We took advantage of having the heavy equipment here to lay new water and power lines on the part of the property.  We sectioned off half of the front pasture with a temporary electric fence so we could fertilize and renovate it.  It is filling in nicely with grass again. We had so much clover there last year that the horse had the slobbers something fierce.  In about a week we will do the other half.  The other pasture is being prepared for the cattle that we hope to bring in next month.  With the help of a crew of volunteers, the old rusty wire fence along the road, that was overgrown with honeysuckle, poison ivy, and lots of other unidentified vines, was ripped out and replaced.  It looks so much nicer and will probably be more effective at confining a few young steer.  Managing manure on the pastures has been an issue for us for several years and we've been exploring different ways to handle it. In the past, we would go out with a tractor and trailer every week or so and fork it up and add it to the manure pile.  That is time consuming and not much fun. So hubby put together a "manure drag" out of a piece of chain link fence and four cinder blocks.  He hooked it up to the big John Deere mowing machine and dragged it around the field. It appeared to be quite effective at breaking the manure into tiny pieces which should break down quickly.  Hopefully, between that and the fly predators that we release, we will have adequate fly control and a good looking pasture. 

This week we will plant another round of crops in the garden.  Seeded crops such as radishes, carrots, lettuce, and corn can be planted now.  It is so hard to be patient and wait to plant tomatoes, peppers, basil, and eggplant. But our last frost date is still many weeks away and I don't like to plant twice, so we will wait.  In the meantime, I can renovate the herb garden and we talked about planting a new one, too.  Daughter is living at home again and she wants to plant flowers.  Lots and lots of flowers. It will be a vibrant, beautiful little farm this summer.

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